Your 529 college savings plan is gone. Your parents’ retirement funds are half of what they were, and their stock portfolios have taken a dive. But you still want go to college…how can you, and your parents, pay for it?
Dr. Katherine Cohen, the most in-demand college admissions expert in the country, founder of IvyWise, emphasizes that a college education should still be on the top of any investment list.
Dr. Cohen offers these suggestions to help limited college budgets go further:
The latest trend: forget the “five-year plan” of yesteryear, today’s college-bound students are on a three-year plan. Students should:
- Take AP courses in high school and local college courses over the summer to build additional credits and cut down time at college.
- Take the maximum course load possible each semester at college and graduate in less than four years.
- Take summer classes at local community colleges and transfer credits.
- Graduating in three years can reduce college expenses by up to 25 percent.
Other options for students who cannot afford to attend the college of their choice, according to Dr. Cohen, include:
- Have a back-up plan.
- Make financial aid officers aware of any mitigating circumstances or changes to their financial situation.
- Defer college enrollment to work for a year and save money.
- Consider attending a community college and then transfer into a four-year college after a year or two.
- Keep breakfast foods in their dorm room and choose a more limited, less-expensive meal plan option.
- Live off campus with roommates to save money on room and board.
What’s the value of an education in a down economy? According to Dr. Cohen:
- College is a wise investment that will pay off for the rest of one’s life.
- A college degree opens doors for future jobs. When the economy turns around, those with a college degree will be better armed.
- According to the College Board, those who have a four-year college degree will earn $1 million more than those with just a high school diploma over the course of their lifetime.
- College is where people build their professional and social networks that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
- College career services departments can help students beyond getting that initial entry-level job.
Recognized for its expertise, impressive results and collaborative counseling approach, IvyWise is a decade-old comprehensive independent educational consulting company located in New York City. Founder and CEO, Dr. Katherine Cohen (named America’s Superstar Independent College Counselor) and her team of former Ivy-League admissions officers work one-on-one with students worldwide to make informed decisions as they seek admission to the college of their choice. IvyWise provides expert advice to students and parents on school placement, college admissions and financial aid. For more information about IvyWise, please visit www.IvyWise.com.
About Katherine Cohen, PhD.
Katherine Cohen graduated magna cum laude from Brown University, and has a doctorate from Yale University. She received certification in College Admission Counseling from U.C.L.A. Extension. Prior to founding IvyWise, Dr. Cohen gained valuable experience as an intern college counselor at Palisades Charter High School, and as reader in the Yale University Office of Admissions. Also, Dr. Cohen taught SAT test prep classes for The Princeton Review and provided private academic subject tutoring services.
She is the author of two books on college admissions, The Truth About Getting In and Rock Hard Apps: How to Write a Killer College Application, both published by Hyperion Press. Dr. Cohen is frequently interviewed by the national and international media on the subject of school admissions and the application process. Additionally, she is a sought after speaker on college admissions, speaking at organizations such as Merrill Lynch and UBS, and serves as a faculty resource for YPO (Young Presidents Organization). Finally, Dr. Cohen is a member of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC) and the Independent Educational Counseling Association (IECA).